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Monday, June 13, 2011

Tenn-Tom Waterway Trip. Just Me and Glenda. June 13, 2011

Glenda and I are on a tug boat trip without any of our grandchildren, for the first time since we launched the boat last year. We decided to take the opportunity to cover some new territory, so left Montevallo this morning pulling the Knot-So-Fast on her trailer, headed for Columbus MS. About 10:45 we arrived at Columbus Marina, which is located just off the main channel of the Tenn-Tom Waterway, North of Stennis Lock and Dam.

White Pelicans!

The tug boat "Ashleigh", from the Port of Mobile, heads downstream toward Stennis Lock.

It was hard to tell if the Waverly Marina was open for business or not (?)

Barge Loading Facility a couple of miles North of Columbus Marina.

Clear Skies to the West after the Storm.

Columbus Marina is a small but modern facility, and we were met by the marina’s very helpful and friendly manager, T. Caldwell. We were given our choice of several covered slips, which later proved to be a blessing. More about that later.

After launching the boat and tying her up in the slip, we unhooked the trailer and took the truck into town to find lunch. We had a great lunch at the Main St. CafĂ©. It’s the kind of place you find in all small towns, where the locals and informed visitors enjoy a relaxing meal in the hub of town. Of course the sweet tea was excellent, as was the food.

Back at the boat, we decided to do a little exploring while we waited for the sun to get a little lower in the sky. We untied and headed out of the marina, passing the Stennis Lock and Dam before turning upstream. Our first unexpected sight was a group of WHITE pelicans. We are used to seeing lots of the brown pelicans on the Gulf Coast, and I knew that the white variety existed. I just didn’t realized that they were found this far inland. If my memory is correct, the main difference (aside from the color), is that the brown pelicans catch their food by diving from the air at great speed into the water, whereas the whites feed by catching small fish that swim by them as the float. (Somebody correct me if this is not correct). I’m sure Abby will do some reference work on white pelicans when she sees the pictures! 

We puttered upriver at about 5 mph, playing with my new toy, a Canon SX30-IS camera. Beginning with our first trip on the tug boat a little over a year ago, I had become more and more frustrated with my old digital camera. We saw lots of wildlife, but managed to get only an occasional photo from close range. It seemed that every time we saw a really beautiful bird, alligator, deer, or what-ever, that we’d scare it away by trying to get the boat close enough to take a decent photo. After the trip to Chattanooga a couple of weeks ago, I looked through the photos we had taken and decided I had to have a better camera for wildlife scenes. We had seen so many beautiful examples of God’s creation, but my camera just wasn’t up to the task of doing them justice. The SX30 has a 35X Optical Zoom and can go up to 140X with its Digital Zoom – It’s really neat! I hope I’m still this happy with it when the VISA bill comes at the end of the month.

After about 7 miles of upriver travel, stopping often to check out the Corps of Engineers facilities and to photograph birds and such, we turned around, making it back to the marina just in time to get the boat secured before an afternoon thunderstorm hit with lots of lightning and 40+ mph wind gust. After a couple of “waves” of stormy weather, things calmed down and we enjoyed much cooler temperatures.

Glenda Says: Ok, test do we really like each other well enough to spend this much time together given that about 16 feet is as far away as we can get if we need to. We’ll see how it goes. Columbus Marina is very nice. It is also very quiet. I had hoped it would be a good place to bring the grandkids but I don’t see a good place for them to get into the water . There is a nice recreation area with a simple play ground but it’s more than ¼ mile from the marina. The marina is very “Daisy” friendly and other than being harassed by an overzealous yellow lab she seems to be enjoying herself. I really enjoyed our ride upstream. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt looking for wildlife. I saw another deer by the water today. I have decided to look for God everywhere and the deer reminded me of when the Pslamist said “my soul pants for you as the deer pants for the water”. ( I think it was the Pslamist that said that) It was hot enough for the deer to be panting. I was not ready to come back but the captain insisted and it was a good thing. About 20 minutes after docking our roughest storm yet came in. The lightening was horrible and the wind was worse. The good news is it should be a very cool night for sleeping.

More White Pelicans


  1. Tom, we actually have the White Pelicans up here in Illinois at certain times of the year. Until the last 10 years I never remember seeing them but now it is an annual thing. I have never noticed them dive in the water for pray - normally just surface feeding as you mentioned.

  2. Sounds like a great start so far! I'm happy you were able to find a covered slip before the storm came.